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Burger With a Side of Fashion – Moschino spoofs McDonald’s

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Trademarks

You may have previously read my post about apparel companies spoofing luxury fashion brands, but in Milan, one luxury fashion brand spoofed brands perhaps a little more familiar to the average Joe or Jane.

Moschino’s capsule collection, “Fast Fashion – Next Day After The Runway,” drew some criticism  for its treatment of some of these brands, including McDonald’s.

 

The purse and other items from the line have already sold out.  The belt below is still available, but it will set you back about the price of 250 McDoubles on the Dollar Menu.

While this was the debut of the fashion house’s new creative director Jeremy Scott, this  irreverant style isn’t new for Moschino, which has earned a reputation as a playful fashion house that likes to poke fun at brands.  It has taken jabs at competitors like Chanel, Versace and Prada (see “Pasta” shirt below), and previously spoofed McDonald’s in 1997 with a jacket that said MoSchino’s in white against a red and yellow background.   Interestingly that collection was likewise called “Fast Fashion.”

 

Is Moschino infringing on other’s trademark rights, particularly a mark as famous as McDonald’s?

Certainly there are arguments that could be made that the McDonald’s brand is either diluted by blurring or by tarnishment.  Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125, dilution by blurring requires an association between the famous mark and the junior mark that impairs the distinctiveness of the famous mark, and dilution by tarnishment must harm the reputation of the famous mark.   Clearly some association is intended to be made from these designs, but the threshold to show that it impairs the distinctiveness of the McDonald’s arches or harms their reputation would be difficult to overcome for a fast food chain against a Warhol-esque luxury fashion designer.

From Moschino’s perspective though, under the parody defense, the parody generally needs to simultaneously evoke the original and a contradictory and often humorous message that it is not the original so as to avoid confusion.  They evoke the original arches but in a cheeky way.  The “arches” differ in an important way from the McDonald’s arches – they form what appears to be a heart shape.

And I’m lovin’ it.